Smokefree Air Act


As the weeks get gradually warmer in Iowa, patrons will flock to the outdoor areas of Iowa’s bars and restaurants.  The Iowa Smokefree Air Act (ISAA) may, however, prohibit smoking in some of these outdoor areas.  If you are an owner/operator of a bar or restaurant in Iowa, you may want to brush-up on the subject prior to prepping your outdoor areas to avoid any potential penalty.   


The ISAA identifies a restaurant as an establishment which offers food to the public, guests, or employees.  The ISAA prohibits smoking in the outdoor seating or serving areas of restaurants.  In other words, if the outdoor area contains seating of any kind (i.e., chairs, benches, picnic  tables, stools, etc.), smoking is prohibited.  Further, if staff serves food or beverage to patrons in the outdoor area, smoking is prohibited.  


The ISAA identifies a bar as an establishment where alcoholic beverages may be purchased for consumption on the premise, and in which food service is limited to prepackaged snack foods, popcorn, peanuts, and the reheating of commercially prepared foods that do not require assembly.  The ISAA does not regulate smoking in outdoor areas of bars, and smoking can be allowed on patios, decks, or any other outdoor areas of bars.   


Finally, if bars or restaurants provide entertainment (i.e., live band, comedian, etc.), the ISAA prohibits smoking in all outdoor areas where people can witness the entertainment.  These areas include seating, standing room only, festival style seating or any area where people congregate to experience the entertainment.

For more information about the Iowa Smokefree Air Act, call the Iowa Department of Public Health at 888.944.2247 or visit

Smokefree Air Act (PDF) Highlighted version for licensees

Smokefree Air Act (PDF) Clean version

Administrative Rules (PDF)

Report a Smokefree Air Act Complaint Website 

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